Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller did not back down when questioned by CNN’s Jim Acosta on President Trump’s new immigration policy. In fact, he went on the offensive calling one of Acosta’s questions the most “outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things” the reporter has said.
Jim Acosta asked whether Trump’s new skills-based immigration system that was rolled out on Tuesday favors English speaking people and those with desirable skill sets, and he asked if it was in line with American tradition.
Acosta then quoted the Statue of Liberty saying, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” He noted to Miller that it doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being a computer programmer. Acosta said, “Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to Speak English when they get here?” Acosta asked.
That released Miller to aggressively counter both Acosta’s question and his understanding of history. He pointed out to Acosta that to be naturalized, a person must speak English now. “So the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be part of our immigration system would be very ahistorical,” the Trump aide said.
Miller then added that he didn’t want to get into a “whole thing about history here,” but reminded Acosta that the poem he referenced on the Statue of Liberty had been added later.
Acosta shifted the conversation back to the notion that speaking English was necessary. “You’re sort of bringing a ‘press 1 for English’ philosophy here to immigration, and that’s never been what the United States has been about,” Acosta charged. The CNN reporter argued that even though immigration was at a low point, the Trump administration is focusing on building a wall and restructure America’s green card policy.
Miller couldn’t hold it in, “Surely, Jim, you don’t actually think that a wall affects green card policy. You couldn’t possibly believe that, do you?’ Miller said, challenging the reporter. “I want to be serious, Jim. Do you really at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?”
Acosta countered again, this time referencing his father who as a Cuban boy and an American immigrant at age 11 didn’t speak English when he arrived. Acosta said, “This whole notion that they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from the United Kingdom and Australia?”
Miller got even more aggressive, “I am shocked at your statement,” the Miller said with emotion, adding twice that it was a “great moment.” He went after the idea from Acosta that people from Great Britain and Australia are the only ones who speak English.
“It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree,” Miller said. “That you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.”
Acosta interrupted and charged, “It sounds like you’re trying to engineer a racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.”
This is the statement that Miller found “outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish.”
At the end of the heated back and forth, Miller apologized as he started to leave, sort of. “I apologize, Jim, if things got heated, but you did make some pretty rough insinuations,” Miller said, turning the podium over to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. When Sanders got to the podium, she smiled and said, “That was exciting.”
After you watch the intense encounter in the video below, we would like to see your comments on this exchange.
Credit: Daily Mail